Look at the form figures for 10-year-old Midnight Pearl, a runner in the 6.45 at Worcester tonight and you’ll see absolutely nothing at all, not even a big fat 0. A ten-year-old making a racecourse debut? What’s that all about then?
In fact, Midnight Pearl has run before, but that was the best part of seven years ago, 2,473 days ago to be precise. At the time of her last race, Midnight Pearl was just three, and running over five and six furlongs for owners Andrea and Graham Wylie. Lily Allen’s Smile was Top of the Pops, and Tiger Woods was picking up his second British Open Golf title. It was 23 July 2006.
Tonight’s venture will be something new, for Midnight Pearl. It isn’t that she has taken seven years to get the hang of jumping hurdles, because she has spent a fair amount of that time jumping a whole variety of obstacles. She’s been show jumping, hunter trialling and has tried her hand at dressage.
Oh, and in between all that she’s mothered three racehorses, Midnight Catcher, Like A Charm, and Ostralegus, who have had 14 races between them, and managed a couple of placed efforts.
Tonight she’ll run in the colours of Jacquie Hall, who breeds polo ponies in Gloucestershire. Hall said, “We have been waiting all winter to run her because she can’t cope with the mud, but now she has finally got the opportunity to show what she can do and I am really excited.”
Mark Bradstock, who trains Midnight Pearl at Wantage, has a page of memorable races on his website. It mostly features King Harald and Carruthers. If Midnight Pearl wins tonight, a very big if, she’ll earn a place on that page.